Saponjic’s new life

Ivan Saponjic celebra un gol con el Slovan de Bratislava.


Ivan Saponjic has rediscovered football in Slovakia. The Serbian arrived at LaLiga in the summer of 2019 to join the ranks of Atlético de Madrid. A reinforcement at the point of attack during a market where the club had to carry out its great change of cycle, with the goodbye of heavyweights and the incorporation of players like João Félix.

But, in addition to Portuguese, Atlético also went to Benfica to incorporate Saponjic, although in his case from the second team. A theoretical incorporation of the future, but he had never had a leading role in the first division, although he had won the U-20 World Cup with his team. And it wouldn’t be like that at Atlético either. The Serbian is one of those signings that, when you look back, It will remain in the memory of the fan… because of how bizarre his time at the club was.

The balance speaks for itself: three appearances in his first rojiblanco course, with a total of 64 minutes divided into 60′ in the Cup in the elimination against Cultural Leonesa, two in the draw against Leganés and another two against Celta. Nevertheless, Saponjic always wanted to continue in the squad despite the fact that it was not part of Simeone’s plans. There were loan offers, but the Serbian was only thinking of Atletico. Finally, reality hit the striker. In the 2020-21 season, it would be 45 minutes that he would play in the first six months of competition, all in the Cup against Cardassar (20′) and Cornellà (25′). Eliminated in the tournament and in full fight for the title, Saponjic agreed to leave on loan to Cádiz.

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Photo by Ivan Saponjic

In the Cadiz team the striker could be seen for the first time with some continuity, although without breaking down the door. Of course, his debut as a Cadista was against Atlético himself, causing an important scare for Oblak with a header that forced him to leave a great save. A clause in his loan led him to add three consecutive titles so that Cádiz would avoid an extra payment. A penalty goal against Osasuna was his notch in LaLiga before returning to Atlético… to chain another six months without participation.

In the January market, Saponjic terminated his contract with the rojiblanco club. He had no place in the template and despite his friendship with Oblak, Savic and Vrsaljkoat 24 years old it was necessary to be able to compete after years without doing it. Saponjic signed with the Slovan from Bratislava and his arrival had an immediate impact on the Slovak team. A goal and an assist in his debut and a new goal in his second game, where he already took a place in the eleven. A streak that would not be sustainable.

Two more goals in the next five games, before entering a final drought of five straight games. Saponjic has participated in 12 games for his new club, a total of 847 minutes in six months in a more likely league so that he can have regularity (he said goodbye to Spain with 495 minutes in two and a half years). The Serbian finished the season with four goals scored and nine starts. A player who will hardly be seen in the big leagues, but you can always say that he was part of the League champion Atlético.

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